These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: DECEMBER 2016

I’m not sure whether it was the fact that I didn’t want 2016 to be over yet, or the fact that I’ve barely touched my laptop in the past few weeks, as to why this post is late. Nonetheless, December was a pretty crazy month. With exams and finals, my family coming to visit, having to say goodbye to some of the most incredible people I’ve ever met and travelling around America, I haven’t had a chance to catch my breath. Oh, and Christmas was in there too. I’m so blessed to have had some of the best experiences in my life in the month of December, so let’s get into serious reflection mode.

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Processed with VSCO with 6 preset

TRAVEL

Lucky me got to do a lot of travel this month! I started the month in New York where I was reunited with my family after 6 months without seeing them. New York was unlike anything else. You can check out my YouTube video here. It was so great seeing my family again, especially to be able to experience a new city like New York with them. A highlight was definitely the day that we walked over the Brooklyn Bridge, plus when Elly and I rode our bikes through Central Park.

And the end of the month was spent in San Francisco, California with my sister. After -20degrees, snow, blizzards and freezing my ass off in Montreal, we were pretty stoked with 12-15 degrees and sunshine! San Francisco is also where we celebrated New Years Eve and despite my sister’s complaint (I had the smart idea of watching the fireworks from the hill near our hostel, however our view of the fireworks were completely blocked by a huge tree), I had a truly lovely New Years Eve. You can check out my San Francisco video here.

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Oh New York

CHRISTMAS

Christmas is always a special day, and what made it even more special and memorable this year was the fact that I got to spend it with my friends and family in Montreal. My two girls, Chloe and Chantelle, came from America to stay with me for a week over Christmas. On Christmas Day, I had a huge party at my house, inviting all of the stray exchange students I knew who would otherwise be spending it with a case of beer and Netflix (OK, that would’ve been me if I didn’t have a party). But OMG I had SO MUCH FUN. We made so much food, there was way too much alcohol and I got to spend Christmas with people I utterly love.

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My little Christmas family

SAYING A BIENTOT

Urgh, the absolute worst thing about travelling and meeting such incredible people is the moment you have to freaking say goodbye. Honestly, it’s the worst feeling, experience, emotion, everything in the world. There were many tears shed, hugs and embracing lasting minutes, parties, drunken hoorahs and truly painful FaceTimes and waving at airports (Eva, Rosa and Marc, I blame you guys for that). As cliché as it sounds, going through such a heart breaking goodbye really makes me realise just how special, genuine and loving these relationships I’ve created are. So as I’ve said a billion times before, it’s not goodbye, it’s see ya later. In the meantime, enjoy a Pabst at Reggies for me.

TUNES

Well the other day I (finally) voted for my top 10 songs for Triple J’s Hottest 100. It was a very stressful time in my life and I’d like to thank each of you being there to support me through these difficult and strenuous times. But I made my decision and you can check it out below. By the way, my number 1 song was Viceroy- Violent Soho.

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FLICKS

 

The Grinch

December and Christmas mean one thing and one thing only… The Grinch. I legitimately watched it three times this month and my god is it quoteable af. I try to channel his sassiness and attitude regularly in my life and damn it feels good.

Barry

I really liked this film. It was sweet and simple, with some very important messages. Without going into the heavy politics of the US President elect Donald Trump, I think it actually made this film better. It’s the knowledge that Obama is leaving the White House and very rosily looking back at his early years as a college student, where it all started.

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YOUTUBERS

Dansvibes makes another appearance, because his Vlogmas was honestly, INCREDIBLE. I watched his vlogs everyday and his presence on camera is so natural, real and personal, how could I not watch?! We met up for an epic coffee crawl in the Plateau (you can watch the video here) and we talked all about YouTube, filmmaking, vlogs and life. Dan – you’re an absolute inspiration and I admire your dedication, enthusiasm and just loveability.

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TUNES

Sleep On The Floor: The Lumineers

This month I found myself watching this video clip over and over and over again. Not only is their entire album truly on point but ahhhh I just love the stories their video clips tell.

September: Earth, Wind & Fire

This song makes me instantly happy! I. Just. Can’t. STOP.

Fumes: EDEN

In all honestly, EDEN’s entire EP is incredible. But this song just hits me right in the feels.

QUOTE

Mmmm… what’s a quote, a sentence, a few words that sums up this month? The quote below really helped me get through the rough times of saying goodbye to Montreal and all the incredible people there. That adventure has come to an end, but it had to to make way for a new one. And I’m freakin excited to see where this adventure takes me.

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So to all of you out there… happy new year and I hope that 2017 takes you on a truly epic adventure.

How To Survive Christmas Away From Home

So you’ve got an epic trip planned for the summer break. Firstly, WOOO! You’re going to be travelling, adventuring, meeting new people and learning about this big and beautiful world. Unless you’re on a Contiki trip, in which case you’ll be binge drinking your way around Europe. Good luck! Secondly, you’re going to be travelling or binge drinking on Christmas! WOOO-WAIT-WHAT?! And being a twenty something human, you realise that you’re not quite prepared to spend Christmas away from your family, friends and home. You’re in that awkward phase of being independent and wanting to create your own new traditions, experiences and badass memories. But at the same time you also want your Mum to cook you food, do your laundry and watch The Grinch with your little cousins whilst digesting your food baby.

Well luckily for you, this year will be my second Christmas overseas, so I think I know a thing or two about surviving that jolly time of year where it’s apparently socially acceptable to wear candy cane earrings and play Christmas carols for the entire month of December.

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Make Plans

The first time I spent Christmas away from home was when I was 19 and living in London. My housemates and I cooked a huge feast and got ridiculously drunk. We bought a little Christmas tree and decorated it with tinsel and beer bottle caps, classy I know. I was lucky I got to spend that Christmas with such dear friends. But wherever it is you find yourself, whether it be a hostel, a hotel, a tent or a flight… make some epic plans. Do something wild, or crazy or out of the ordinary. Not only will it keep you busy and your mind occupied, but you’ll then remember that wild time you did a nudie run in Switzerland, made a giant snowman in Canada, or swam through a waterfall in Indonesia on Christmas, for the rest of your life.

Buy Alcohol… lots of alcohol

Ok, I’m not going to lie, alcohol definitely helped me through that Christmas in London. If you put a group of young Australians together, with no parental or adult supervision, you’ve got a recipe for a wild day and night. Honestly… alcohol… enough said.

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Plan a Secret Santa

Secret Santas aren’t just for middle aged ladies working at your local grocery store. Secret Santa is the cheapest and easiest way to recreate Santa’s visit to your house. You don’t even have to go through the stress of organizing who has who as a Secret Santa. Just plan for everyone to bring a gift, chuck it under your Christmas tree, and after a few drinks when someone rightfully puts on a Santa hat and beard, the gifts can be randomly distributed. Plus, you don’t have to put out milk and cookies for Santa. Those cookies have your name on it.

 Embrace local culture

Did you know that in San Francisco and New York City, they hold an event called ‘SantaCon’ where everyone dresses up as Santa Claus and takes to the streets to partake in an epic pub crawl? Or that in Ukraine they add spider webs to their Christmas trees? And did you know that in Japan, there’s lines out the doors for KFC on Christmas day? Yes… KFC! Christmas means different things to different people across the world, it may be a day to celebrate with friends and family, a day to eat, a day to rest or just another ordinary day. Wherever you are in the world, get amongst the local culture to celebrate Christmas the way the locals do!

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So Merry Christmas wherever you are in the world. If it’s filled with laughter, alcohol and inappropriate gifts, you’ve done Christmas right.

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: DECEMBER

After being very politely reminded by a friend that I actually hadn’t written a ‘favourite things’ post from December, I had to smash one out immediately! With all of the hustle and bustle of Christmas and New Years – I really just could not find the time for it! Horrible excuse I know! So… voilà!

Borders – M.I.A

I absolutely love this video clip! It just goes to show that singers and people in the entertainment industry have the power to raise awareness about serious social issues. I feel that more people in positions of power should actually use their power and influence to make a different in our world. Congrats M.I.A – absolutely killed it!

The Anti Cool Girl by Rosie Waterland

I read this book in literally 3 days and I swear they were the 3 best days of my life! This book is witty, gritty and hilarious. I’d definitely recommend it anyone!

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Settling in to our new home for the Summer

Complete with sometimes swampy pool and all, our humble little abode for Summer is pretty damn sweet! And living with your best friend definitely has it’s perks!

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Santa Pub Crawl

It’s a pub crawl. And everyone’s dressed up as Santas. What’s not to love?! The best thing is that the money goes towards charity so I guess it’d actually be rude not to go.

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Going home for Christmas

So this year I actually got to enjoy Christmas properly! Aside from being slightly *headache-y* in the morning, I had such a fabulous day with such great friends and family!

Jetsetting to Melbourne for New Years Eve

So we left on the 30th December and carried our antics into the New Year. There’ll definitely be another post to come with all of my recommendations but for now – I’ll just leave these photos here.

I hope the end of your 2015 was as spectacular as mine and you’re ready to take 2016 by STORM!

 

 

 

 

Is Christmas Really Just Another Day?

This year I was (un)lucky enough to work a split shift on Christmas. Working in hospitality, we were exceptionally busy, being both mentally and physically exhausting. Whilst the joy of public holiday rates kept me going, I couldn’t help but feel a slight pang of sadness flood through me when people said ‘aw you poor thing, having to work on Christmas,’ before finishing with a ‘oh well, it’s just another day isn’t it?’ And that got me thinking… is it?

Our Christmas Tree 2014
Our Christmas Tree 2014

For as long as I can remember, Christmas has been filled with tinsel, presents, big lunches that send us into a food coma, being with family, taking pictures and playing with our new and exciting gifts (by the way, this year I got a selfie stick and have had WAY too much fun playing with it). I have spent 18 Christmas’ with my family until last year where I was overseas celebrating Christmas with my London family at Clarendon 9, and on my 20th Christmas I was woken up early (as usual) couldn’t wipe the smile off my face at the stunning view of our Christmas tree (as usual) and then put on my work uniform and left my loving family at home to enjoy the rest of the day (not as usual). Work was busy (as usual for this time of year) and before I knew it, I was lost in a mountain of dishes, momentarily thinking, ‘yep, just another day at work.’

Our Christmas Feast in London 2013
Our Christmas Feast in London 2013

This got me thinking about how much emphasis we put on certain days of the year. What seems like another Wednesday is suddenly filled with Turkey, Tinsel and Presents… what seems like another Saturday is your birthday and suddenly you’re a year older (and apparently a year wiser), and another Friday means that you can’t eat meat and stock up on chocolate.

Whilst I tried to get through my split shift with the thought that yes, it’s just another day and I’m getting paid twice as much to do the same job… I couldn’t help thinking of my family at home. And that’s why I can’t accept the statement that all the customers said to me that day ‘Christmas is just another day.’ Because (sadly) there’s not many other days of the year that we come together as friends and families, surprise each other, talk, explore, open up, laugh, drink, eat, eat and eat and just enjoy a lovely day off with the people we love.

My (short) Christmas with my family 2014
My (short) Christmas with my family 2014

So would I work another Christmas? Absolutely… the money was freakin’ amazing! But in future, I’d definitely make sure there’s more time to relax and spend time with my family on a special day that we all get to spend with each other.

xxx A

Our little Christmas Tree in London 2013
Our little Christmas Tree in London 2013

5 Ways to Deal With Homesickness This Festive Season

Whilst I may be at home for Summer break, I still have this sick feeling at the bottom of my stomach, reminiscent of home sickness. Why you may ask? Well I’m a firm believer of the saying ‘home is where the heart is,’ and my heart is scattered across the globe. Whilst most of my time at the moment is spent at work, with my family or at the beach, there are times where that little sick feeling grows a little bit. So these are some tips I’ve come to use and facts I’ve had to acknowledge, to accept these feelings and embrace what I have here at home.

Christmas festivities in Sydney
Christmas festivities in Sydney

Boredom is your enemy – You’re up late at night, sleep in late, don’t go out much, watch TV episodes you’ve watched and rewatched… nothing really new or exciting is happening and you’re stuck in a bit of a rut. This bored routine is not good! AVOID THIS! Keep busy, get some sunshine, see an old friend, go for a walk, go and have lunch at your grandmas, go for a swim… ANYTHING!

Skype/Talk to your Family/Friends once a week – If you’re overseas/away from your home and missing it, it’s important to talk it through with your loved ones, but don’t overdo it. Talking to them multiple times a week when you’re feeling homesick is just going to make you miss them more and feel worse. Instead, try and talk it through with a friend you’re with in person and keep busy as well. Being homesick is a phase and you’ll get through it. Plus, if you’re with a good friend, they’ll be there to give you hugs and make you hot chocolate.

Being silly and having fun with my housemate in London. And it also leaves you some hilarious photos!
Being silly and having fun with my housemate in London. And it also leaves you some hilarious photos!

Talk to a close friend/Write it down – So yes, as mentioned above, talking to a friend is very important, one of the highlights is that you can be silly with them, laugh, smile and momentarily forget about your troubles. But if you’re travelling solo or find yourself being alone, you might find it helpful to write it down in a journal. When I’m internalising deep thoughts, I can’t live without writing them down. Expressing your thoughts and feelings is important and the best thing about a journal is that it won’t criticise or judge you… it’ll just always be there for you.

Make Plans – Go away for a weekend, see your extended family, friends, dogs… anything. Making plans gives your something to look forward to and something to be excited about. It definitely makes those long hard nights bearable when you’ve got something to look forward to!

Still not feeling better? Maybe you need a big and bold kickstart. Something to get you excited and appreciative about life again. And what better way to kickstart those sleepy cells in your body then by doing something out of your comfort zone? Go skydiving, buy a train ticket to somewhere you can’t pronounce the name of, go to a bar by yourself and meet some new people, do a cooking class, learn a new language… do something that will expand your knowledge and comfort zone. Then after that, you’ll feel re-energised and excited again about where you are and what you’ve achieved so far. And the best thing is, when you ring your family on Sunday night, you’ll have heaps to tell them!

Any other homesickness tips? Let me know in the comments below! And don’t forget to step back and appreciate everything you have in your life, how lucky you are and how fortunate you are to have someone to share your life with.

xxx A

Summer Lovin’ (The Best Things About Summer in Australia)

It’s officially Summer here in Australia and I couldn’t be more excited! There’s parties to go to, people to see, food to eat (and lots of it), places to go… it’s just three months of sunshine and good times! I missed out on an Aussie Summer last year (instead, spent the majority of it Eastern Europe and Iceland in the middle of Winter), so here’s the things I’m most looking forward to this Sun Season!

Taking some Australian traditions to London
Taking some Australian traditions to London

Fresh and Delicious Fruit – Mangoes, watermelon, honeydew, grapes, bananas, pineapple, strawberries… with a bit of muesli and a drizzle of honey, it makes for the perfect summer snack! And speaking of fresh fruit, try cutting the top off of a watermelon and pouring in some Midori and Malibu… perfect for an afternoon spent on the beach with a few drinks. Hey, at least it’s healthy!

The Beach – What is Summer without spending the majority of it at the beach! My hometown is the perfect place to do this, with over 10 pristine beaches located within a 10 minute drive from my house (and one across the road). Just remember to Slip, Slop, Slap, drink plenty of water and be prepared for sand to be EVERYWHERE!

Australia Day with mates
Australia Day with mates

Christmas – Yes, in Australia Christmas is in the middle of Summer, and it’s brilliant! A typical Christmas day for me involves being woken up at some ghastly hour by my younger brother and sister, opening presents, giving presents, snacking on some chocolate, and saving our stomaches for a big lunch at Grandma and Grandad’s house with the whole family! After our food babies settle down, we duck down to the beach and soak up the sun. It’s a pretty brilliant way to spend Christmas!

It’s hot – OK so sometimes this can be the bad thing about Summer. I’m a red headed girl with a pale complexion, I was not made for 40+ degree days. A nice 28-30 degrees is perfect for me!

Never gets old
Never gets old

Minimal clothing is totally acceptable – When you’ve got a scorcher of a day, it’s completely acceptable to walk around in your bikini everywhere. Minimal clothing is great, especially when checking out all the hotties at the beach, until some 60 year old men decide to wear their speedos and your eyes a permanently scarred.

I get a tan – Ok, by tan I mean all my freckles come out. Even though I’m constantly reminded of how white I am, I can see I’ve got a fair bit of a tan going on (if I squint really hard and don’t forget to apply my tanning moisturiser).

Sunsets are beautiful
Sunsets are beautiful

New Years Eve – I love New Years Eve in Australia! Don’t need to take a jacket out, everyone’s drinking ice cold beers, we go out on a friends boat, watch the fireworks and then go for a midnight swim.

Australia Day – Australia Day is on the 26th of January and is generally celebrated at the beach or a friends house with a pool, listening to Triple J’s top 100 countdown, drinking beer and hanging out with good friends!

Everyone’s happy – It’s Summer, what’s there not to be happy about!

xxx A